The Value of Narrative in Ceremony Essay

812 Words 4 Pages
The Value of Narrative in Ceremony

The story is the most powerful and most compelling form of human expression in Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Ceremony. Stories reside within every part of every thing; they are essentially organic. Stories are embedded with the potential to express the sublime strength of humanity as well as the dark heart and hunger for self destruction. The process of creating and interpreting stories is an ancient, ongoing, arduous, entangled, but ultimately rewarding experience. As Tayo begins to unravel his own troubled story and is led and is led toward this discovery, the reader is also encouraged on a more expansive level to undertake a similar interpretive journey. Each story is inextricably bound to a
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The most meaningful interpretation thus requires the ability to perceive a work in its totality as well as its relation to its individual parts.

Witchery, evil, seeks to create stories which promote separation and stagnation, however. White people and their stories become the focus of Silko's analysis of witchery. They are unwitting pawns in the process of destroying themselves as well as all others. "...white people are only tools that witchery manipulates...It was Indian witchery that made white people in the first place" (132). By erasing or obscuring connections, witchery gives voice to and exploits the fear of the unknown. "When they look/ they see only objects...They fear/ They fear the world/ They destroy what they fear./ They fear themselves" (135) Christianity and science are equally potent challenges to stories which promote a larger sense of community and tolerance. Where science replaces the need for stories, claiming to be "the true source of explanations", Christianity encourages "each person to stand alone" in relation to a life and a God far removed from the here and now (68, 94). The greatest weapon that witchery possesses is the ability to forestall change in order to dictate or orchestrate interpretation of any kind. The paralysis and despairing desire of Tayo to become lost, anonymous, to vomit out "...all the past, all his

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